Mapping European Security after Kosovo

Mapping European Security after Kosovo

Mapping European Security after Kosovo

Mapping European Security after Kosovo


This book provides new and stimulating perspectives on how Kosovo has shaped the new Europe. It breaks down traditional assumptions in the field of security studies by sidelining the theoretical worldview that underlies mainstream strategic thinking on recent events in Kosovo. The contributors challenge the epistemological definition of the Kosovo conflict, arguing that we should not only be concerned with the 'Kosovo out there', but also with the debate about what counts as security, and how our definition of security is shaped by various power and knowledge interests in Kosovo.


On a hot day in early June 1999, I was participating in a conference on European security in Berlin. The talk of the day was obviously the war in Kosovo. At the same time, at Unter den Linden, a few blocks away from the conference venue, a messy and joyful event was taking place — the Christopher Street Gay Parade, a prelude to the Berlin Love Parade held a couple of weeks later. As I left the conference hall and joined the crowds at Unter den Linden, it occurred to me that Kosovo and the Love Parade have a great deal in common. They are both carnivals of simulation and narcissism, glowing with flamboyant decadence. A techno-music parade and a military techno parade, a unified Berlin and a disintegrating Yugoslavia, rights of the gay minorities and rights of the Kosovo Albanians, are all signifying Europe at the end of modernity, a trademark European fin de siècle.

Kosovo between Idealpolitik and Realpolitik

Kosovo is the first war in history said to be fought in pursuit of principle, not interest. What is at stake is a radical revision of the moral (and, perhaps subsequently, the legal and institutional) basis of the international system. The Westphalian principle of sovereignty — originally created by monarchs to ensure their position against popular movements, and systematically (mis)used by rulers against their own subjects — is being eroded. In fact, the Weberian principle of the state as possessing a legitimate monopoly on violence seems to be failing. Sovereigns no longer hold this monopoly: it now belongs to the international community. The West has defined basic human rights as universal principles that transcend sovereignty.

In the new normative paradigm of Idealpolitik, sovereignty is no longer an ontological given, no longer inviolate. In some cases, it may be restricted (for example, Milosevic's token sovereignty over Kosovo or Saddam Hussein's . . .

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